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House Calls: Hurricane Damage

Edith Lank on

Expressing Appreciation

Dear Ms. Lank: After considering your last suggestion and further disappointment with the quality of rental applicants presented to us, my wife and I have decided not to proceed with the idea of renting out her condo in New Jersey.

However, her rental listing with the agent (who works for Coldwell Banker) still has a number of months to run. It will be really unfair if we just do nothing and let the agreement run out. She put in a lot of effort and time trying to fulfill her obligation(s) to us. She deserves to be fairly compensated. What do you think is a correct, legal and compassionate way to handle this? -- C. Y. C.

Agents are used to devoting time and skill to prospects that don't work out, so she'll certainly be pleasantly surprised.

First off, you need to know whether she officially holds a broker's license. In New Jersey, licensed real estate salespersons are not legally allowed to accept commissions; they must work in a sort of apprentice situation, under the supervision of a specific broker. They can accept payment only through their supervising brokers. Actually, unless she is the head of that office, the same probably applies to your agent, no matter what type of license she holds.


For a minor, token gift, a letter expressing your appreciation for excellent service could be sent directly to the office. It'll be really welcome, probably posted on their bulletin board. Next, an invitation to dinner, perhaps at a restaurant, is always appreciated. Beyond that, the state may have specific regulations about the allowable value of a token gift of appreciation to a real estate licensee.

If on the other hand you'd like to pay what would have been a full rental commission, you may have to send the money to the brokerage, to be shared in normal fashion with your agent. It might be best to consult her directly and see what she understands the law to be.


Contact Edith Lank at, at or at 240 Hemingway Drive, Rochester NY 14620.

Copyright 2017 Creators Syndicate Inc.


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